08/07/12 8:37 PM ET
Baker believes Bonds should be Hall of Famer
By Joe DiGiovanni / Special to MLB.com
Bonds, in an interview with MLB.com published Monday, said "without a doubt" he belongs in the Hall. He is eligible for the first time when the Baseball Writers' Association of America votes at the end of this year. Any electees will be announced in early January 2013.
When told of Bonds' comments and asked his opinion, Baker said Tuesday: "I agree with that. This guy was the best guy of his era. Big time."
Baker, who was Bonds' manager from 1993-2002 in San Francisco, said it never has been proven that Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs.
"If he did and they proved he used performance-enhancing drugs, then you have room for argument," Baker said. "But I don't think it's ever been proven. You know what I mean?"
On Nov. 15, 2007, Bonds was indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice based on his grand jury testimony in the federal investigation of BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative). The case against Bonds went to trial in March 2011, and on April 13, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston declared a mistrial on three charges that Bonds made false statements when he told a grand jury in December 2003 that he never knowingly received steroids and human growth hormone.
Bonds was convicted of obstruction of justice for one evasive answer about whether he received drugs that required a syringe and later was sentenced to 30 days of home confinement, two years of probation and 250 hours of community service.
Bonds won two MVP Awards with Pittsburgh before signing as a free agent with the Giants prior to the 1993 season.
"He was great before he got to San Francisco," Baker said. "When he got to San Francisco, he took it to another level. It was unbelievable watching this guy play every day. Not just hitting. He was the best baserunner. He was the best left fielder. He knew what was going on on the baseball field all the time. I mean all the time. Nothing ever surprised him. Ever."
Other players eligible for the first time in 2013 include Roger Clemens, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa, Kenny Lofton, Julio Franco and Curt Schilling.
"There's going to be a lot of discussion on Hall of Famers next year, probably more than any time in the history of the game," Baker said.
Reds to retire Larkin's No. 11 on Aug. 25
MILWAUKEE -- Barry Larkin's No. 11 jersey will be retired in a ceremony before the Reds' game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, Aug. 25, the team announced Tuesday.
Larkin -- who was enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in July -- will be honored with "11 Days of Larkin," a series of celebrations beginning Aug. 16.
"My family and I are very excited about the special celebration in Cincinnati," Larkin said in a statement released by the Reds. "Since January, the entire Hall of Fame experience has been a dream for us, and the upcoming weekend will be a fitting end to an incredible summer."
It will be the 10th jersey retired by the Reds. The others are Fred Hutchinson, No. 1; Johnny Bench, No. 5; Joe Morgan, No. 8; Sparky Anderson, No. 10; Dave Concepcion, No. 13; Ted Kluszewski, No. 18; Frank Robinson, No. 20; Tony Perez, No. 24; and Jackie Robinson, No. 42.
"I am going to be very excited and humbled when my uniform number is retired next to those of players I grew up admiring and respecting," Larkin said. "I'm looking forward to celebrating this honor with my hometown fans. I want this to be a celebration about all Cincinnatians who have made the city proud."
Baker not planning to play Votto during road trip
MILWAUKEE -- Reds first baseman Joey Votto is getting closer to returning to game action, but he is still unlikely to play during the Reds' current road trip, manager Dusty Baker said Tuesday.
Votto is traveling with the team and has been taking batting practice and running sprints before the games in Milwaukee. After finishing a series with the Brewers on Wednesday, the Reds head to Chicago to play the Cubs in a four-game series.
"He's not too far off," Baker said. "I'm just not thinking [he'll play] on this road trip."
Cincinnati returns home on Aug. 14 to play the New York Mets.
Baker said Votto still has to practice sliding. He underwent surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee on July 17.
"If you had a knee injury, the one obstacle that you have to overcome is sliding," Baker said.
Right-hander Nick Masset, out all season with a sprained right shoulder, threw 21 pitches in his fourth Minor League rehab outing Tuesday night. Masset started for Triple-A Louisville against Charlotte and pitched a perfect first inning. He was removed after recording two outs while giving up a single and a walk in the second. Both runners eventually scored.
Joe DiGiovanni is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.